For about six months our dog, Tuck, has been exhibiting aggressive behaviors towards my…

For about six months our dog, Tuck, has been exhibiting aggressive behaviors towards my husband.

Most of the time Tuck is sweet and loving, often cuddling my husband or demanding pets. But then he just snaps, with or without stimulus. It occurs when he’s petting him and when he’s across the room not even looking at Tuck. Tuck will growl, bark or attempt to lunge at my husband. He has bitten him once on the toe, which was a terrifying experience. It’s just bizarre and we haven’t found a cause.
The most recent time it happened was yesterday. We have a roommate moving in and my husband was helping him hook up a cable to the router. Tuck was about 5 feet away getting some loving from me when all of a sudden he snapped, luckily (and horribly) we’ve started muzzling Tuck when at home and when he’s around my husband.

We don’t know what to do. We’ve consulted a vet who recommends we get Tuck an MRI to see if the issue could be mental as everything else came back fine.

I’ve read a lot online and it talks about positive reinforcement, and we’ve tried, but because it’s so random there’s no way on knowing when Tuck is going to freak out.

My husband has never hit or abused Tuck in any way. We think it might be related to Tuck trying to guard me, as he always wearily watches my husband when he and I are being playful.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of weirdness or have any suggestions on how to help? He is a beloved family member and the thought of getting rid of him destroys us. But because of his barking, we are at risk of being evicted from our home, so it’s urgent we get this figured out soon.

The photos I add show jusr gow sweet and loving he can be.

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Krista Magnifico
3 years ago

Hello, I agree with everything above. Don’t be afraid to start an anxiety medication as you start to understand what is going on. If you think this is gaurading see if you can transfer some of the basic dog duties to your husband.. like feeding and walking if you think it is safe to do so.. also start crating and managing anything that might be thought of as a status position. No couch cuddling, no bed, he isnt allowed any place that he might perceive as being elevated in his status that permits him to control or intimidate anyone else.… Read more »

carrie Urquhart
3 years ago

Maybe he is having anxiety issues? Could try some behavior modification medication like Elavil. Could help with the barking too.

3 years ago

Hello- I am so sorry that you are going through this. I would talk to my vet again, get the name of a good animal behaviorist that is willing to come to your home and observe Tuck in his own environment. I would also enroll him in a basic obedience class as a refresher, and have your husband be the handler. And also, as hard as it is, try to remove your emotion from the situation because dogs can sense our feelings and it does effect them. You could also try a “time out” when it occurs, along with praising… Read more »

3 years ago

You need someone in your home, observing the situation. This is something no responsible trainer would answer, because we cannot actually SEE the interactions. Please get a behaviorist involved.